Suggestions from the Consumer-Driven Life

I’m a consumer.

Nothing wrong with that.
I like nice things.
Shiny things.
Techie things.
Tasty things.
Dark beers with a rich foam head.
Did I mention?
I’m a consumer.

So. You want me in your church. Here’s how to get me.

Parking. I need lots of space for my big SUV. And it better be close to the doors. Don’t want to do much walking. So if it isn’t – how about a shuttle.
Nice Building. This is important. I’m not interested in some strip mall church that looks like it’s struggling. Or an old traditional church – unless you’ve done millions in renos. I’m an upwardly model semi-professional. I want my surroundings to reflect my importance.
Proper HVAC. This isn’t important. It’s critical. I want to be cool when it’s warm and warm when it’s cool. 68ºF to 72ºF – year round. Is that too much to ask.
Comfy chairs. And when I say chairs, I mean chairs. Preferably theater-style. With wide arm rests. Give me some space for my girth – and safe distance from the other arriving consumers.
Be punctual. I’ve already spent too much time getting me and the family ready and there for the meeting. Begin it on time. Have something cool playing on the big screens to entertain if we arrive a little early.
You’ve got an hour. Make good use of it. I want to be in and out in no more than 75 minutes. Maybe a few more if you’re serving decent coffee. Decent coffee that’s free, of course.
Music. Three songs up front. One fast (to get us going). One mid-tempo (to help us be reflective). End with a fast one (that tells us how much Jesus/God/the Spirit loves us – just no Jesus-Is-My-Boyfriend songs. OK!)
Announcements. Get them over after the music. Present them on your big screens so they can be done quickly. This isn’t a time to stick your B-team on the platform to give them some face time. And, unless Larry David is writing for you, avoid humor. Have the Final Cut folk edit your marketing stuff down to 15 second bites. If it works for Sony, it’ll work for you.
Offering. Now. It’s up to you where you put it. If the preacher is great, after the sermon might work better. If not. Go for the money after the announcements. (Maybe show some shots of starving third world kids in the last announcement. Heart-string-tugs work for Compassion and World Vision – why not your church.) “God loves a cheerful giver” and the Malachi 3 verses and the 100 fold blessing are important reminders. A good story of how tithing worked for someone would be great. No more than 90 seconds though.
Sermon. Twenty minutes. Did I make myself clear. 20 Minutes. 20. Twenty. We have the attention spans of gnats. Keep that in mind. Make it practical. If I wanted systematic theology, I would have gone to seminary. Use humor. Steal from the best if necessary. I want to leave feeling built up. And it’s a bonus if I can use the jokes/stories you told at work tomorrow.
Final song. Let the band rip on the last song. Feel good, happy-clappy works here. You want us wanting to come back for more next week.
Benediction segue. Let the band lay back and under as you Bless Us. Speak multiplied blessings over us – and then do a fast pitch for whatever product you need to sell. I did say. Fast pitch.
And then the band amps back up. This is the place for guitar or sax solos as we head out the doors to the shuttle bus or book store or free coffee. It’s okay to charge us something extra for Lattés.
Like I said. I’m a consumer. Oh. And a sort of a Christian. If you build this, I will come.

Or so you’ve been told.

Posted by Bill Kinnon